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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Waddock Assessment & Crystal Palace View

Waddock Assessment - QPR Official Site
Gary Waddock spoke of his learning curve after Rangers fell 2-1 at Palace, despite their best efforts.
Waddock had gone to Sehurst Park experimenting with a 4-1-4-1 formation, but when Palace took a 2-0 lead in the first half, he wasn't afraid to change things round.
"When the opposition take a lead that early, the game plan goes right out the window. We had to change things round and move to a 4-4-2.
"We mixed up the team a bit beforehand due to Marc Bircham having taken a knock and Gareth Ainsworth suffering with illness.
"But I've learnt a lot tonight and I'm disappointed that we couldn't have taken something from the game.
"I felt that our second half performance warranted something and the football we played was worthy of a draw.
"We're still lacking a bit of pace, but I can't do anything about that right now. I'm only doing this job on a day-to-day basis and we cross the bridge of making any improvements to the squad when we come to it.
"This is certainly a steep learning curve and tonight showed me a lot of things.

"WE were disappointed with our second-half display, but having said that we still created one or two clear cut opportunities and should have put the game to bed. But we were down to the bare bones, and there were a few tired legs out there at the end. Clinton, Wayne and Tom haven't played much football lately, so they were always likely to struggle to keep running for 90 minutes. But the win was all-important, and our first-half performance was particularly pleasing. QPR came with a plan to stop us trying to play our natural game, but that went out the window in the first five minutes. We were very forceful in the opening 20 minutes of the game, and could have been out of sight.
"Some of the lads will have been very disappointed they didn't get on the scoresheet tonight. We didn't work their 'keeper nearly as much as we should've done. Another disappointment was the injury to Jon Macken. He's had a horrendous time with his hamstring and back this season, and it seems his injury curse has struck again. The fans felt he was running around, but the fact is his hamstring had gone. So it's a real concern for us and Jon at the moment."
"There was a little edginess in the stands when they pulled a goal back, and sometimes that translates itself onto the pitch. The surface isn't ideal, which didn't help our passing, but that's true of a lot of clubs at the moment. So whilst I'm not delighted with the display, I am with the result, because I was always confident we were going to win the game.
"And we can't get too caught up in the performance, because were were missing key players. So the players who came in did well to make light of the loss. I was particularly pleased with Michael Hughes' contribution, because he steadied the ship well when he came on. And I was also delighted with Gary Borrowdale, who deservedly won the man of the match award. I've got a lot of time for Gary, because he's worked hard in training despite the fact that he hasn't featured much this year. But the more he plays, the better he'll get.
The crowd was 17,550, and we are hoping for at least 20,000 - particularly when we are challenging for the play-offs. I heard a few rumbles among the fans, and sometimes we forget that we were fourth from bottom in Christmas 2003 when I took over as manager. Sometimes the edginess in the crowd gets to the players
"Looking ahead to Saturday's game at Millwall, we'll have Fitz Hall and Mark Hudson both back from suspension, which will be a big bonus. It should be a nice, friendly atmosphere at the Den - I'm sure they'll welcome us with open arms!"

Crystal Palace Official Site - Match Report
THIS Valentine's Day affair was not particularly pretty, but Palace fans ultimately returned to their loved ones with a warm glow in their hearts after seeing their side do the double over their city rivals.
Palace's performance was neither especially polished nor sparkling, and at times they were put under intense pressure by a resolute Rangers' side, particularly in the second half.
But a win, they say, is a win, and in the long-term this could prove to be a precious one, more so as it was achieved without star striker Andy Johnson.
AJ was not the only absentee, as a catalogue of injuries had forced Iain Dowie into a number of changes.
The walking wounded also included Marco Reich and Aki Riihilahti, whilst suspensions deprived Dowie of the services of Fitz Hall and Mark Hudson.
As a result there were returns to the starting line-up for the likes of Gary Borrowdale, Ben Watson, Tom Soares, Wayne Andrews, Jon Macken and Clinton Morrison.
The Palace bench, meanwhile, was a mixture of youth and experience, with young guns Arron Fray and Lewis Grabban alongside veteran campaigners Michael Hughes and Dougie Freedman.
The visitors' line-up featured a variety of faces familiar to the Eagles, particularly in midfield where Steve Lomas and Richard Langley - who both trained with Palace in pre-season - were given the chance to prove their worth.
However, there was no place for charismatic playmaker Marc Bircham, who failed a fitness test. Rangers' strike force was spearheaded by Saturday's match winner Marc Nygaard, with Paul Furlong handed a watching brief on the bench.
A bright opening period for Palace culminated in a third minute goal for Morrison, who capitalised on some indecision in the QPR defence to fire a firm volley past Paul Jones and so send the Selhurst faithful into raptures.
It was just the start Dowie would have hoped for to banish the memories of a sub-standard showing in Yorkshire at the weekend.
Langley had an immediate chance to draw the sides level, but instead skewed his right-footed volley from the edge of the area horribly wide of his intended target.
Nygaard went much closer with a curling effort in the 13th minute, but again Gabor Kiraly was not called into action.
Palace physio Paul Caton was, however, when Macken pulled up with what appeared to be a recurrence of his hamstring strain, and was promptly replaced by Freedman.
But the change failed to disrupt Palace's rhythm, and moments later they almost doubled their advantage when a quickly-taken free-kick saw Andrews fire a volley narrowly over Jones' bar.
On the 20-minute mark Darren Ward did likewise with a header as the pressure on the visitors continued.
But Rangers rallied impressively, most notably when Simon Donnelly - making his first start for the Superhoops - broke down the right and whipped in a cross-shot which Langley narrowly failed to connect with at the far post.
After half an hour, however, the home side doubled their advantage through the Sunshine Kid McAnuff, who was left with a fairly straightforward task after Freedman had robbed Ian Evatt and delivered a pinpoint pass.
The goal prompted a change of tactics by Rangers' caretaker boss Gary Waddock who, with the introduction of striker Furlong in place of defender Marcus Bignot, abandoned his somewhat negative 4-1-4-1 system in favour of a more conventional 4-4-2 formation.
The final act of a disappointing first-half for the visitors saw Donnelly curl his free-kick high over Kiraly's bar.
Palace began the second period much the same as the first, and came close to scoring a third through Andrews, whose run and shot was thwarted by Jones' outstretched palm.
Rangers responded with a Cook shot which was dealt with by a diving Kiraly, who moments before had intervened when a scuffle had threatened to break out between Leigertwood and Nygaard. Both protagonists were booked for their troubles.
In action of a more positive nature Lanagley curled his shot narrowly wide when well placed. The visitors had certainly enjoyed more than their fair share of chances, but had by and large failed to find the target.
After 55 minutes, however, Furlong did just that with an emphatic header which was past Kiraly before the Hungarian could react. Suddenly, we had a game on our hands.
Soon afterwards Watson had the chance to restore Palace's two goal advantage, but instead ended up with a face as red as his hair when he kicked more of the ground than the ball, and promptly injured himself in the process.
But the midfielder redeemed himself moments later with a dipping corner which Furlong cleared from underneath his own bar.
At the other end, meanwhile, Rose fired in a low shot which Kiraly gathered in a crowded penalty area.
McAnuff responded in turn with a shot of his own, but his radar was slightly awry and he failed to test Jones.
The 'keeper was again untested in the 70th minute, when Freedman spurned a gilt-edged chance by blazing his shot high into the Whitehorse Lane End.
Two minutes later Ward did find the target, but Jones was equal to the task.
At the other end Kiraly, had to be equally alert to prevent Cook's inswinging corner from the left from levelling the scores.
In a bid to bolster his midfield Dowie threw fans' favourite Michael Hughes into the action, but the visitors continued to push forward and Nygaard narrowly failed to beat Kiraly to Evatt's knock down.
With ten minutes remaining Morrison should have put the result beyond doubt, but found only the side netting.
As the clock at SelhurstPark ticked slowly down to zero Rangers pushed forward with ever increasing urgency, but the Eagles hung on to record the season's second victory over the Superhoops.

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